Teaching on Resolving Conflict @LosAltosGrace

I had the privilege of teaching on Sunday @LosAltosGrace about Resolving Conflict. That very phrase, “resolving conflict,” often makes us squirm. The challenge from Sunday was to see it as “normal” and part of life which we as believer’s in Jesus are perfectly equipped to resolve. Below is a brief outline of what we covered together:

Resolving Conflict

The two key points for when we have been offended:

1) Overlook It.
Proverbs 19:11
“A person’s wisdom yields patience;it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
Sometimes when we are hurt, we can just care for it in our own heart and mind. This isn’t advocating denial, but rather emphasizing FORGIVENESS and grace.

We reminded ourselves that forgiveness means:

  • I will Not to Dwell on it
  • I will Not to Bring it Up
  • I will Not to Use it Against Someone
  • I will Not allow it to Hinder the Relationship

Bitterness is a choice, just like forgiveness.  And bitterness results from the opposite choices!

2) Reconciliation
When the relationship has been significantly damaged, then reconciliation is needed. So what do I do to reconcile?  We gave 4 Biblical principles:

  1. Glorify God – Seek first to bring Him glory, not defend yourself or prove that you are right.
  2. Get the Log Out of Your Own Eye
  3. Go and Show your Brother or Sister the fault
  4. Go and Be Reconciled!

 

View the Powerpoint Presentation online here

Listen to the message online here: Resolving Conflict.

You can find it on iTunes here

 

Thanks to the influence of Ken Sande and his book the Peacemaker:

Burk, Brasil and the Breaking Future

So this morning as I was praying, the Lord brought to mind the nation of Brasil. A large and important country in our world. I’ve been praying regularly for the church in Brasil to rise up and seize the opportunity afforded it by the World Cup being on their soil next summer.WorldCup-2014-Brasil

I quickly shot off an email to my colleagues, Steve Bailey and Bruce Triplehorn who serve @EncompassWorld for that nation. I found out earlier this week that Steve was on the ground there, and I wanted them to both be sowing seeds and listening to what the Holy Spirit might be stirring up. We are praying for a coalition of leaders, churches and ministries who would be mobilized to the ministry opportunities of relational evangelism, discipleship and church planting afforded by the World Cup in Brasil.

As that email left my computer, another came in from Tom Julien (who I always listen to):

A faithful warrior has entered heaven with his eternal “weight of glory”  (2 Corinthians 4:17).  What an example he was.

I quickly scrolled down in the email to find out who, and it was Bill Burk. “Amazon Bill” as he was affectionately known who served as a missionary taking the Gospel to the unreached along the Amazon river for 6 decades!  I remember as a child hearing the stories of the Amazon Rain Forest and the Good News going to people who had never heard about Jesus! I prayed for Bill and Imogene as a youngster.

In these moments, I’m reflecting on how the future of missions is breaking open in these two happenings around Brasil. A few musings:

  • Like Amazon Bill, we still need people who are crazy enough for Jesus that they’ll take the Gospel to the hardest places on our planet!
  • I’ve been challenged by the hundreds of “Unengaged, Unreached People Groups” in our world, and Bill Burk was going to those people groups decades before that “title” was dubbed in missions circles.
  • Our heritage @EncompassWorld and “our present” both are strong in taking the Good News to the unreached of our world!
  • The unreached are not just in the jungle anymore, they are in our cities…in the Urban Jungle.
  • The breaking future of reaching these unreached peoples in not just in solo, pioneer missionaries, but in coalitions of leaders, churches and ministries who will covenant together for the Great Commission.

burksMy deepest sympathies and prayers go out to Imogene and the whole Burk family.  They will miss their beloved here, and we all know that another “saint in glory stands.”

Press Release from Encompass World Partners 

2007 Interview about Amazon Bill’s Legacy and his “Plumb Line”  by GraceConnect

The Essence of the Church by Tom Julien cited by @JD_Payne

This post is a connection of 3 influential missiological thinkers in my life:

1) I saw this post on Kurt Miller’s blog (thechurchplanter) – @KurtMiller01 is my father-in-law and one of the sharpest thinkers about church planting in the USA.
2) Tom Julien wrote most of the content, and he is the Director Emeritus of my current agency Encompass World Partners. From the time we shared a meal at my parents home when I was a little boy, I’ve hung onto the wisdom he has spoken.

DiscoveringChurchPlanting-JDPayneThose first two were plenty of reason to repost, but then as I did some more research, I realized that
3) missiologist J.D. Payne included this in his 2012 book Discovering Church Planting. I’ve learned from Payne in his merging of global mission & church planting over several years of collaborating with @CMAResources.

Sorry for the long intro, now to the content of “The Essence of the Church”:

 

“In his article, “The Essence of the Church,*” Tom Julien discussed the fact that many church planters often define the local church in terms of their cultural preference, which can lead to problems on the field.  Julien admonished church-planting teams first to come to an agreement on what the local church is so they will know what they are planting.

“Our problem is that we identify the local church by her cultural and historic expression, more than by her biblical essence. To arrive at a clear definition of the local church we must make a distinction between the two. Sluggish thinking here will lead to differing assumptions in the church-planting team that will affect the basic principles of any church-planting ministry. The more focused we are on essence, the less attachment we will have to any particular cultural expression of the church. On the other hand, if the form or cultural expression of the church becomes our reference point, adapting to different cultural situations will create tension.

The New Testament reveals the church both in her essence and expression. With regard to the essence of the church, this revelation is given in images and presented as fact; with respect to the cultural expression of the church, this revelation is given as example and is descriptive rather than prescriptive…

Let us come back to our original question: “What is a local church?” We have said that a local church is a visible manifestation of the biblical essence. Most of us, however, need something more concrete to work with. It is crucial that every church-planting team agree on a working definition, in concrete terms, that grows out of essence, and not expression. This definition must include those elements that are indispensable to the identity of a church, and omit those that are not. This definition identifies the seed for church planting.

Here is an attempt at such a definition. Members of every church-planting team need to be unified with respect to what they are planting, even if it takes months of struggle to agree.

A local church is an organized body of baptized believers, led by a spiritually qualified shepherd, affirming their relationship to the Lord and to each other by regular observance of the Lord’s Supper, committed to the authority of the Word of God, gathering regularly for worship and the study of the Word, and turned outward to the world in witness.”

Questions to Consider:

  1. What do you think Julien meant by “If the form or cultural expression of the church becomes our reference point, adapting to different cultural situations will create tension”? Can you give an example of such tension?
  2. Do you agree or disagree with Julien’s definition of the local church?
  3. Have you and your church-planting team taken the time to agree on a biblical definition of the local church? f not, why not? How do you know you are all on the same page when you talk about church planting?

*Taken from Tom Julien, “The Essence of the Church,” Evangelical Missions Quarterly (April 1998): 148-149, 152.”

Photocopy original citation in Discovering Church Planting page 44
Photocopy original citation in Discovering Church Planting page 45

Kindle Version:

My Highlights from Leading Cross-Culturally by Sherwood Lingenfelter

One of the areas of great growth and learning for me since I’ve been with Encompass World Partners has been in cross-cultural relationships. One of the experts in that area, and former board member with Encompass is Sherwood Lingenfelter. I encountered his book Ministering Cross-Culturally and learned a lot!

I have poked around in Lingenfelter’s more recent book Leading Cross-Culturally primarily because of our implementation of coalitions which are an architecture for everyone everywhere to engage in mission! It will be best if multiple cultures are involved, and it will also be a stretching experience for everyone involved.

Last night I was transfixed by chapter 8 on “Power-Giving Leadership.” Lingenfelter walked through the sticky Paul, Philemon, Onesimus situation. What a beautiful example of Paul giving away his position and power and empowering Philemon to lead and be like Jesus. This study provides an excellent contribution to Biblical leadership!

 

Lingenfelter’s definition for the book: Leading cross-culturally, then, is inspiring people who come from two or more cultural traditions to participate with you (the leader or leadership team) in building a community of trust and then to follow you and be empowered by you to achieve a compelling vision of faith.

LeadingCrossCulturally-coverBelow are a string of some of what I found to be the best quotes in my reading so far:

The most important part of empowering new leaders is to support them in the early stages when they need help and to release them as soon as they can walk in the ministry by themselves. Consider the analogy of a toddler learning to walk: as soon as the child takes steps alone, we encourage the child to keep going. Some people are very cautious about releasing young leaders; this is a serious mistake. To release is not to abandon but to let the young leader learn to walk. It is vitally important that we allow young leaders to take halting steps, allow them to stumble, even fall, and then, as mentors, encourage them to get up and try again. We can always support them and help lift them up after they have fallen. But they will never be successful leaders unless we release them to play the game, to do the work for which we have equipped them.

The focus of power-giving leadership is to follow Christ and, in so doing, to lead others to follow Christ. In the patterns of “normal” cultural life, our power and skills may produce leaders but probably won’t produce followers of Christ.

“Giving Philemon the freedom to choose is also a vision to grow (‘I know you’ll do even more than I ask’). Part of empowering leadership is to remind people of who they are and the way their (potential) actions are consistent with their identity in the Lord”

The power-seeking leader uses position and authority to exert mastery over others. In this situation, Paul used a letter to engage in a power exchange with Philemon. He had Onesimus in his custody, and he could have easily written a different letter that would have asserted Philemon’s obligations to him and induced Philemon to release Onesimus to Paul without ever letting Onesimus out of his sight. Paul understood that if he took that tactic, it would be a false path to acquire something that he desired. He would pervert the relationship that God had given him with Philemon, using his position as the senior brother in Christ to advance his own selfish interest. In doing this, Paul would have, in fact, undermined Philemon’s faith and the work of the grace of God in their relationship together.

Jesus must become the center of who we are…

To restore our human psyche and relationships to the will and purpose of God, Jesus must become the center of who we are and replace our quest for power. Only as we are motivated by the Holy Spirit and through the living Word of God can we relate to one another within the structures of human society to accomplish the purpose of God.

I will first argue that we must put Jesus “in the place of power as a proper source of healing and will”

The task and the routines of daily work always erode our mission and vision for the ministry. They also erode our spiritual values. The question is not whether our values are eroding; team values are always eroding. The question is, what are we doing as leaders to renew our sense of mission, to restore our vision, and to renew the values that are critical for multicultural teamwork? Our hope for effective leadership and ministries lies in aligning ourselves with the mission and work of God in a lost and broken world.

Leaders in particular must surrender their obsession to control and achieve, through worship at the cross.

While the process will be difficult, with periods of intense testing and struggle, building covenant community is a process of refocusing from doing what we want to being the people of God.

In the end the work of the kingdom depends on our obedience to the King. God cannot rule in people who are disobedient and in conflict with one another. God rules as we obey God and love one another.

Every leader who expects and hopes to be effective in leading cross-culturally must give repeated attention to the mission, the vision, and the values that are essential to kingdom work. Every team meeting should include some intentional renewal of mission, vision, and/or values. As soon as that component of the team is lost, the mission and the vision will be lost to the routines and the pressures of doing our daily work. Every case study that we have considered here has suffered because of a loss of mission, vision, and/or values among the people who were part of the multicultural team process.

Saying, “I was wrong,” is more powerful than saying “I’m sorry.”

One of my colleagues, Janice Strength, notes that saying “I was wrong” is far more powerful than saying “I am sorry.” She notes that we often push children to say “I am sorry” when they and we know they are not. To acknowledge “I was wrong” is to take responsibility for the action we have done.

I remind students in my classes that we are first emotional creatures and only secondarily rational. As we respond to crises or stressful situations in leadership, we rarely operate based on reason and rational processes. When things get tough, we first respond emotionally—frustration, anger, fear, disappointment, and betrayal. These emotions often get the best of us, leading us to seek power to protect ourselves, which in turn undermines the will and purpose of God.

I remember praying, “Please remove this person from leadership and give me someone else who can do the job more effectively.” God’s answer to this prayer was, “Absolutely no; don’t you understand my work?” I learned over a period of time that God loves weak people and that God intends leaders to work with the people whom God gives to them.

An Introduction to Twitter…How to’s and Why to’s

I’ve been asked by a few people about getting started with Twitter. I’m not an expert, but I play with it (a lot), and I believe it is a significant tool for work/ministry.

Rather than rewrite a bunch of things that other “experts” wrote, I’ll just post a few articles that really helped me by a couple of guys I really respect in this area- @MichaelHyatt & @ScottWilliams

Here’s a Beginners Guide – to just set up Twitter and get you going
http://michaelhyatt.com/the-beginners-guide-to-twitter.html

How Can Christian Leaders Get Started with Social Media?
This video is actually from a few years back, but is still relevant in talking about the how’s & why’s…

 

@ScottWilliams giving his Top 10 Ways Twitter Can Make a Difference
http://www.bigisthenewsmall.com/2011/11/14/10-ways-twitter-can-make-a-difference/

 

What about my organization or ministry? @ScottWilliams gives some practical how to’s:
http://www.bigisthenewsmall.com/2012/02/16/7-practical-ways-organizations-can-leverage-social-media/

 

On promoting a book or project/event, this post by @MichaelHyatt is learning from a Jedi
http://michaelhyatt.com/how-to-use-twitter-to-promote-your-new-book.html

 

How to get ReTweeted…great stuff from @ScottWilliams on your content becoming more viral by being shared!
http://www.bigisthenewsmall.com/2011/06/27/top-10-ways-to-get-re-tweeted/

 

Those articles & ideas have been VERY helpful to me. If this has been helpful to you, give me a tweet, or retweet @MikeJentes !

Gathered and Scattered…can you have it both ways?!?!

I like to describe our church @LosAltosGrace as having a “conventional church skin” and an “organic church soul.” Yes we have a Sunday Morning Worship Service, Sunday School, Youth Groups, and even a Christian School. To the casual observer, we have a very conventional church. But the Biblical principles which are foundational for how our church truly functions are much more organic than conventional. This kind of “animal” can be difficult for some to understand.

One of the things that we have been moving into for the past ten years is seeing the “groupings” of our church family as “mini-churches” or actual “organic expressions of the church.” Those groupings are adult Sunday School classes, young adult ministry, and even our choir! A couple of my friends, Phil Helfer (one of our pastors) along with organic church leader Neil Cole co-authored an excellent book called Church Transfusion which deals with this very topic.

Well, last weekend our church had a family meeting…just like all families do. We talked about what has gone on in the life and ministry of our church in the recent past. We also talked about money and about how God has provided and what it seems He is leading us to do. One of the things that members of our family have started doing is saving towards buying new carpet for the auditorium. We actually took this as an indication that we could invite others to save for that too, and when it’s fully funded, we can do the work. (There are a few other things that we itemized to help upgrade our facility, primarily in the auditorium)

In honest questioning, a very faithful and active member of our spiritual family asked, “If the new normal for our church is “organic” and with churches in homes, why are we renovating the auditorium? You can’t have it both ways!”

Wow, what a great question! A very important question! A question I wrestled with and prayed about for much of the week. I finally was able to string together my thoughts and sent the following response:

I’ve thought and prayed about how to respond to your email. I didn’t want to do so with haste, and I hope that my delay hasn’t offended you.

LookingBothWaysIn short, I do think you can have it both ways. Our facility is merely a facility, but it gets A LOT of use. It houses a preschool and an elementary school whose ministry is important and needs these upgrades as well. Our auditorium is used by our church family at least 52 times each year on Sunday mornings. That is a value for us as a family. It’s a touchpoint for our family — a time touch base each week and do some important things together: worship together with other saints, expose ourselves to the Scripture, connect with others in our family relationally and provide an entry point for others who are looking to find God or a spiritual family. Some people can make it each week, some can’t. It is a gathering time that is an important value. It isn’t the sum total of who we are as a spiritual family though. Our Los Altos Grace family is scattered throughout Southern California. Each of them would know that right now the time when they can connect with the largest percentage of our family would be a Sunday morning.

Families have this same phenomenon. Mealtime for example. Supper maybe served at 5:30 or 6pm each night. Everyone in our family knows that, but sometimes Mindi can’t make it because she has class, or one of the kids have a ball game. We have a rhythm and a habit as a family. We set the table, pray, eat, talk about our days, laugh and we clean up after. When someone isn’t at the table we miss them. We don’t doubt their part in our family nor do we think they are being rebellious. We trust that as they can, they will be at the table with us. We like the gathering of our family. It’s a habit, a rhythm, but it doesn’t define our family. Our kids are part of our family when gathered, or when scattered!

I’d suggest that the church is the same…scattered and gathered. Not one or the other. There are thousands and thousands, make that millions of people in Southern California who will never come to our Sunday gathering. Our charge is to go and make disciples…so we are seeking to do that. To “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” and not to forsake the assembling of yourselves together (Hebrews 10). We want to be all things to all men so that by all possible means God might save some. We don’t do this perfectly, or maybe even that well. But it is our calling as disciples, and as a church. Some of our gatherings will be in homes, or parks or schools. We will probably always have a Sunday morning gathering at our humble facility at 6565 Stearns Street.

Also we hope that our spiritual family will become scattered and decentralized, much in the same way as our kids grow up and move away. They start families of their own. This is true of you as your children are scattered from your dinner table now. It is a maturity thing, and we want to see God continue to scatter our spiritual family as well.

I value your investment and leadership in our church family. I’ve learned much from you as you faithfully love our Lord and do His work… Thanks for your desire to call our spiritual family to a heart-felt and obedient worship of our amazing Jesus. I hope that is helpful for you and I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee and talk about this more if you want to.

___

What do you think?

The Multiplier Factor « Issachar Initiative | Extending the Reach of the Church

Thirteen people gather in a modest living room in central China. Their huge task is to reach and disciple an unreached people of several million. Thinking about this brave small group, we might be reminded of the boy’s bread and fish in John 6: “…how far will they go among so many?” But that small lunch was enough because Jesus brought the divine multiplier factor.

Does God have a divine multiplier factor for that team of 13 in China?

Yes, because they aren’t a team of just 13 people. One church in North America has told them: “In reality, you have 3,013 members on your team because every person in our congregation is a part of your team too. Whatever you need, ask for it from a member who is back here in our church. We’re in this together!”

The local church is God’s multiplier factor for missions today! Individuals can make a tremendous contribution to missions. Technology can have a great impact too. But the multiplier factor only comes into play when we engage the local church. Why?

1. The power multiplier

“I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it,” Jesus declared. It is the church to whom Jesus promises success as she assaults the forces of evil.

We are in a cosmic spiritual battle. Paul called the Ephesian church to stand with him in the fearless proclamation of the gospel with “all kinds of prayers” because the struggle is against the powers of darkness (Eph. 6:18-19). If the Apostle Paul was dependent on the engagement of the church, who are we to think we can go it alone?

Winning is not dependent on technology, education, political power, or money. But it is dependent on a powerful team fighting on their knees. One pastor told me with joy that when his congregation came face to face with the desperate needs of the unreached, they began to pray “BIG prayers.” Big prayers impact the church itself, the community, and yes, the ends of the earth. Only the deeply engaged local church has the potential to exponentially multiply the prayer power. Only that prayer power will go far enough, deep enough, and last long enough.

2. The leadership multiplier

Saul was a “Type A” entrepreneur, gifted and passionate to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. But in Acts 13:1-3, God pushed the pause button. In essence He said, “Wait! I want the local church, especially the leaders of the local church, to be the engine of the missions process.” The Holy Spirit speaks to the leaders of the Antioch church, “You send Paul and Barnabas.”

In the 21st century, the local church continues to be the best engine for missions engagement. Here’s what happened when one church responded:

“Our elders identified people in our church who were seriously involved in ministry and who they felt might be gifted to serve cross-culturally,” an elder in a local church in Pennsylvania explains. “We developed a two-year class, and eventually from that group, we sent a team to Cambodia. Each member struggled at times with the decision to move ahead, but they kept coming back to this fact: This isn’t an individual goal nor a decision made hastily. This is the vision of my church, and we have the full confidence of our church leaders.”

God continues to call the church to prepare and send some of its best today. But will our generation complete the Great Commission? We can’t be sure. So the local church must also, right now, be raising up tomorrow’s missions leaders. How? By involving members of every age in Acts 1:8 efforts. Missions is caught better than taught, and the church is where those with powerful vision should be incubating it!

 3. The resources multiplier

My life changed when a man in our congregation said to me, “This is the first time in decades of running a business that I ever saw any way take what I’ve learned and use it for God.”

At the time, I was directing missions in my local church and had just recruited this businessman to be part of a short-term team offering business seminars in Eastern Europe. Suddenly I realized that our church was full of people who had all different types of expertise—professional, business, hobbies, sports, etc.—that was being wasted. And most of them were not uninvolved because they were resistant. They were uninvolved because they didn’t know they were needed and they had never been asked.

To stake Jesus’ claim over every inch of this planet requires the full engagement of every member of the church. God has already built the vast variety of abilities needed into what He describes as His Body—a complex organism with an amazing variety of distinct parts. These parts are designed to work in tandem to reach common goals (Eph. 4:16).

No individual and no other organization on earth can get the job done. God has called the church to the task because no lesser institution can be successful. The local church is God’s multiplier factor. What’s God calling your church to do?

Ellen Livingood is the coordinator of All Means (www.AllMeans.org) and the president of Catalyst Services (www.CatalystServices.org). Both efforts are dedicated to multiplying the global impact of local churches.

Issachar Blogs highlight 10 Elements of the Great Commission found in Scripture. This blog relates to Element #9, Mobilizing People and Finances, based on the promise in Luke 6:38 to “give and it will be given to you,” and the command in Isaiah 6:8 to “listen to our Lord’s voice and be ready to go wherever He calls us.

 

The Multiplier Factor « Issachar Initiative | Extending the Reach of the Church.

Cross Cultural Books to Recommend

I’ve been learning lots about cross cultural ministry over the last few months. I’ve interacted with these books below:

I haven’t finished reading them all, but they come with HIGH recommendations. I’ll let you know more as I finish and use them!

It’s Not Fair! by Paul Eshleman about Unreached, Unengaged People Groups

pauleshlemanI had the privilege to interview Paul Eshleman, director of Finishing The Task last week.  I got to ask him when God grabbed his heart about Unreached, Unengaged People Groups…you should listen int to what he says:

Podcast: This is Not Fair by PaulEshleman-Encompass (click link to open and play)

MP3: This is Not Fair by PaulEshleman-Encompass (click link to open and play)

 

(See also  Paul’s Article on the Unreached)

My highlights from Western Christians in the Global Mission by Paul Borthwick

All of the following are direct quotes from the  book by Paul Borthwick Western Christians in Global Mission: What’s the Role of the North American Church?

 

Miriam Adeney echoes the same call: “Our music and our worship must be multicultural, not simply because our society is multicultural, but because the future from which God is calling us is multicultural…. Not just so that those from other cultures may feel at home among us but also so that we may feel at home in God’s future.”

I believe that we in North America must take initiative in becoming more intentionally international and intercultural.Consider four actions: get to know the world, develop multicultural fellowships, view business as kingdom work and get connected to the global church.

“With two eyes and two ears and one mouth, try to observe and listen four times as much as you speak.”

…I have not yet heard any leader say, “Well, you really set the pace in teaching us how to be servants.” We in North America know how to be in control, but do we know how to follow the orders of those who will lead Christendom through this century?”

“For us in Africa, we think from a family paradigm. When we come together in partnership, it’s a partnership based on relationships (not tasks), and we stay partners for life.”

In a relational view of partnerships, I don’t need to have all the answers, all the money or all the ideas. We come together as family to chart the way forward. We need each other, as Andrew Walls suggests: “Crossing cultural frontiers constantly brings Christ into contact with new areas of human thought and experience. All of these, converted, become part of the functioning body of Christ. The full stature of Christ depends on all of them together.”

The greatest challenge in building effective partnerships between Westerners and non-Westerners is control.

Unfortunately, for the most part, the North American mission force talks a great game about partnership, but paternalism and colonial patterns still predominate. My sense is that the global church would love to partner but isn’t interested in the strings that are attached or the models of ministry we bring. Rather, they are looking for friends who model Christlike family…

“we who live middle-class lives in North America or Europe are living a lifestyle that is, materially speaking, “better than 99 percent of all the people who have ever lived in human history.”

On the one hand, we might raise and spend more money on short-term mission airline tickets than the annual budget of our host church; on the other, many in North America cannot grasp the reality of the poorer world without a firsthand visit. There is simply no substitute for going and visiting our Majority World coworkers in the kingdom where they live and serve.

The North American church must move

  • from being primarily doers to primarily equippers
  • from being in charge to being equal partners
  • from ownership and control to “We own nothing, control nothing and count nothing as our own”
  • from Western missionaries to global missionaries
  • from unhealthy dependencies to indigenous self-sufficiency and the promotion of dignity
  • from competition to cooperation (from an emphasis on “my” brand to a focus on “his” brand)•from agency-based missions to church-agency synergy

 

Faith in God is so important. Am I letting him direct my steps? Westerners (and I include myself here) are such driven people. We rely on statistics, we rely on technology, we rely on news and we rely on our experiences and gifts. But we are not always good at learning to wait on the will of God. I have learned and seen true faith in some of these leaders who are being persecuted and have nothing. They truly understand Paul when he writes, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8).

 

It takes everyone to accomplish the mission, and the body is better because of that.

One of our slogans is this: “Building crosscultural relationships is easier if we accept the fact that 40 percent of the time we will have no idea what’s going on.”

The key issue, as we’ll see later under the topic of partnership, is building relational trust as we grow as a family. And just like a family, when one of us needs money, we might ask a brother or sister for help. But even if that brother or sister cannot respond, we’re still family!

Being in reciprocal relationship with brothers and sisters will force us to focus first on relationships rather than the creation of global strategies.

We need to learn to receive as well as give….we, the rich, go to help you, the poor, or that we, the educated, go to help you, the illiterate. We think that the word resource means money first and education second. Reciprocity teaches us that our brothers and sisters are rich in many other ways.

“Too often, we who go to serve on crosscultural short-term missions practice self-congratulatory servanthood. We live in the hut, eat the local food, endure the heat and use the squat toilet, all the time quietly congratulating ourselves on our willingness to serve.The irony is this: I might be feeling proud as I “sacrifice” my North American comforts to be with my Majority World family, but they don’t necessarily see me as a servant. They welcome me as a guest, but to them, I am just living the way they do all day every day, fifty-two weeks a year. I am not acting as a servant; I am simply a new member of their family.True servanthood is serving people in a way that they interpret as servanthood.”

Christian missionaries actually helped to preserve cultures and languages. According to Sanneh, rather than serving as a tool for Western cultural domination, the translation efforts of European and North American missionaries provoked: (1) vernacular revitalization: the preservation of specific cultures by preserving their language; (2) religious change: people were attracted to Christianity and a “God who speaks my language” over Islam, which is fundamentally not translatable; and (3) social transformation: the dignity associated with God speaking indigenous languages revitalized societies and laid the foundation for the eventual ousting of colonial powers.

 

…to grow as the global body of Christ characterized by

  • interdependence rather than independence and individualism
  • reciprocity, by which all members contribute to the benefit of the others (and all members realize that everyone else has something to offer)
  • humility, equality and mutual respect, with a stress on honoring the less significant-seeming parts of the body
  • learning and discovery together.

 

The common thread is this: God’s people, relying on God’s power and presence, go out and look for opportunities to share and demonstrate the love of Jesus to all peoples everywhere.

Jesus says to his followers “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you,” he affirms the same truth (Jn 20:21). We don’t need to ask if we are sent; Jesus says we are. What we need to ask is where and to whom.

In one respect, the big question is not “Where do we fit?” but “What is God doing?” Joining God in his global eternal mission is our first priority.

 

What’s the first small step of intentionality that you need to take to start expanding your global vision?

 

The common theme is this: intentionality. Without intentional efforts to build our diversity, we will find ourselves in isolated, monocultural churches and fellowship groups.

 

We in our peaceful North American surroundings often forget that sixty-five of the sixty-six books of the Bible were written either from or to a context of uncertainty, political violence, oppression, poverty, exile and military force.

Until the Western church can learn what it is like in the rest of the world, it can only be a spectator, not a participant.

Those of us who want to interact globally will have to suspend some of our theological judgments and listen to how someone from another land is hearing the Scriptures, experiencing the power of God or applying the Bible to daily life.

“Missions is now mutual exchange among multiple centers of influence and learning and resources traveling all directions, not only from here to there.”

Does the church in America have the humility to learn from us, or do they consider themselves to be the world’s teacher? Does the American church have the magnanimous spirit to work alongside us in genuine partnership that is based upon mutual respect and shared resources, or do they simply see us as their “partners” to fulfill their plans in our countries?

 

Even though the Western world has dominated Christianity for much of Christian history, Christianity is now primarily a nonwhite, non-Western, nonwealthy religion….Some estimate that 70 percent of the world’s Bible-believing Christians (as opposed to nominal or cultural Christians) now live in the Majority World.

June E-newsletter from @MikeJentes

COALITIONS
Still plenty to pray for…

We are still praying and working toward a strong and effective coalition for each region of our world – Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America.

Continue to pray for the coalition for the World Cup. We seek to come alongside the Brasilian Church for outreach, discipleship and church planting around arguably the largest world-wide event! Your prayers are needed for the Spirit to direct the Brasilian Church as to how He wants them to seize this opportunity. Although the World Cup isn’t until June 2014, the time is short to pull this off.  Would you pray for great progress in the coming weeks?

Would you also pray for God’s guidance in forming coalitions around the Unengaged, Unreached People Groups? There is great interest, but this will be some of the hardest work we’ve ever done.

See all of my June E-newsletter from @MikeJentes.

My E-newsletter Archive:
Read my May 2013 e-newsletter
Read my April 2013 e-newsletter 

 

Work Matters: A Reflection from Bob Genberg

A friend of mine, Bob Genberg read the book “Work Matters” and wrote an article for our sister church.  I was gripped by his article and how it described an orbit that is easy for us to fall into.  I thought I’d post it here for your consideration:

My bedside alarm activates and Jackson Browne’s “Before the Deluge” nudges me out of my slumber. I get up in a sleepy haze and get dressed for work. I gather my backpack, kiss my wife and daughters goodbye, and fall into freeway traffic. Another workday has begun and I’m on autopilot. Lately, I’m realizing how easily and insidiously this has become my default mode. Autopilot. The mode that understands the spoken and unspoken guidelines that shape my interactions with others. Whether this involves feigning interest when a supervisor drones on about a new pet project that is sure to be as revolutionary as the reinvention of the wheel, or replying “fine, fine,” when someone asks me how I’m doing—even when I’m struggling with personal pain and heartache. I’ve learned how to compartmentalize my life in order to make it more manageable. Perhaps to keep, as George Castanza said in a Seinfeld episode, my worlds from colliding.

Tom Nelson, in his book Work Matters, has helped me catch a glimpse of how this compartmentalization leads to a fractured worldview, fractured living, possibly a fractured soul. He points out that a proper viewpoint is essential for correct and vital living, as incorrect thinking fosters withdrawal from the world, rather than engagement in it.

Tom writes specifically about our relation to work, and lays the foundation of…   >>Read the Rest HERE

Work Matters: A Reflection from Bob Genberg | Grace Community.

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